Thursday, October 25, 2012

Uncle Sam's Illness

"Dr. Mitt", Uncle Sam, and "Dr. Barry"
A Responsible Approach vs Hopey Changey Happy Pills

[from billlifka[ I have a deceased uncle (let’s call him Sam) who was a heavy smoker. He was feeling poorly and a doctor diagnosed his condition as an advanced case of lung cancer. Sam didn’t want to hear that so he went to several other doctors who delivered the same verdict, along with the prognosis of an early, painful death.
One of these, Doctor Mitt, was quite experienced in the field and had cured many cancer patients before. He promised Sam that he could be cured if he were willing to undergo treatment that would be very uncomfortable for a time but would return him to robust health as he had enjoyed before he became addicted to smoking. The treatment would require that Sam cease smoking immediately and submit to chemotherapy and radiation. His hair would fall out, temporarily, he’d be extremely nauseous most of the time and he’d lose much weight. On the other hand, Dr. Mitt would prescribe modest doses of pain killers and a special diet of food and food supplements that would build up Sam’s total body to offset much of the damage to the localized cancer area.
Sam considered this advice but sought an easier solution. 

In all professions, there are practitioners who tell their clients what they want to hear. Usually, they are successful in their practices since most humans want to hear what they want to hear. And so it was that Sam was able to find other doctors who told him just the opposite of what Dr. Mitt and others of his persuasion had told him.
Principal among these was Dr. Barry who was a glib, handsome devil who was very popular with his patients, especially the ladies. Dr. Barry said all that discomfiture was unnecessary and, most likely, was bad; even a little bit of suffering caused patients to lose hope and hope was known to be the best medicine for any kind of ailment. Giving up smoking, according to Dr. Barry, was also bad; resultant unhappiness was another cause of the loss of hope. He prescribed stronger pain killers that produced a euphoric feeling in Sam for several months. 

After a few months, the stronger pain killers and the continued smoking didn’t make Sam any better. In fact, his condition steadily worsened and he spent an extremely painful eight months until his early death. To the end he recommended Dr. Barry to friends and associates as a doctor who cared deeply for his patients. 

This is a true story but I’ve changed the names of my uncle and the doctors to protect the guilty and the innocent. You might have noticed the similarity between my real uncle’s story and the on-going story of our Uncle Sam. My uncle’s immediate family members were enablers to him in his choice of a comfortable short term over a successful long term cure. Currently, Americans have the opportunity to enable their Uncle Sam to continue in his rotten habits that feel good in the very short term but will lead to his painful death in the slightly longer term. They have an alternate opportunity to restore him to full health and a long life. Which will it be? 

This analogy may offend some but it’s dead on. Just because one is a lemming doesn’t mean that one must follow one’s leader over a cliff. Many lemmings are credits to their species and have the intelligence to know a cliff is ahead and it’s time to ease themselves to the sides of their pack and not get swept over in the crowd. It will allow their species to survive, which should be high on their list of instincts. Their next step should be to select a leader with more common sense.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Problem with High-Intellect Twits (HITwits)

[Added 05 Nov 2014] The posting below, from 2012, may help to explain President Obama's fall from popularity, and the GOP gains in their majority in the US House of Representatives, and newfound majority in the Senate.]

There are four kinds of people in the world:
  • High-Intellect Twit - A HITwit is a smart person who excels at some intellectual pursuit and foolishly thinks that makes him or her an expert on everything, despite pitiful lack of experience. These are the most dangerous people to have around, particularly if they use their intellect to rise to high positions and impose their foolish ideas on the rest of us. (Two prime examples of HITwits are sketched above).
  • High-Intellect Wise - A HIWise is a smart person who excels in a range of practical pursuits and is serious in his or her outlook on their place in society. These are the best people to have around because they are responsible for most of the great ideas and advances in science, technology, and business, helping to create jobs and the wealth of nations. We need HIWise leaders but, unfortunately, they are often criticized by the main-stream press for telling us painful truths, and they sometimes lack the personal celebrity and warm charm people find attractive.
  • Limited-Intellect Wise - A LIWise is a person of average intelligence who is serious about doing the best they can for themselves, their families, and their communities. These dutifully do nearly all the necessary work of the world, are good neighbors and friends, and add tremendous value to the lives of all around them.
  • Limited-Intellect Twit - A LITwit is a person of average intelligence who is also foolish. These are pretty much useless in terms of accomplishing anything, but at least they do not cause any trouble beyond requiring public assistance and charity, which they accept gracefully.
Fans of the hilarious Big Bang Theory sitcom will recognize the Dr. Sheldon Cooper character who is portrayed as a brilliant theoretical physicist with an eidetic (photographic) memory. This nearly ideal example of a HITwit knows everything about everything he deems to be important, and continually spouts little known, true but useless information to prove his high opinion of himself. Of course, Sheldon is incapable of actually accomplishing anything of use to human civilization. When he makes what he thinks is a clever joke, he cries "Bazinga!" and when the other characters suggest he may be out of his mind, he says "I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested!"

The second example of a HITwit is a brilliant public speaker who excels at inspirational rationalizations for his failure to deliver on his promise of "Hope and Change". He is so clever and lacking in any real experience in business that he actually believes his own foolish retoric. Despite the failure of trillions of dollars borrowed from the Chinese and wasted by his political allies in big business and big labor and big government to stimulate the economy, he has doubled down on more of the same. His major accomplishment and goal in life is taking money from those who have earned it by hard work and inspired enterprise and doling it out to those who, for whatever reason, have not. If a politician takes money from Peter to pay Paul, he can depend upon Paul's vote. Sadly, many of our fellow citizens are mesmerized by this HITwit's warm and charming personality and mislead by his shameless cheerleaders in the major media. They appear to be buying another four-year boatload of the same old "Hope" hokum he sold them in 2008. When will we ever learn?

That's the problem with HITwits!

Ira Glickstein